Review: Scooby Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery
By Sean Markey / http://www.krank.ie/
Anyone who was alive at any point from the 1970s onward (congratulations, that’s you!) and grew up with a healthy diet of Hanna-Barbera cartoons and rock ‘n’ roll music will no doubt be all too aware of both mystery solving dog Scooby Doo and theatrically dressed glam metallers KISS. Now, several decades after the respective icons first appeared, they’re finally having themselves a crossover. Thankfully (or disappointingly, depending on your point of view), said collaboration does not involve a dog with a speech impediment barking into a microphone (“Rawd rave rock rind roll roo roo…”). Instead, KISS find themselves in the Scooby Doo universe and there’s a mystery that needs solving.
Our story kicks off in typical Scooby Doo fashion as two employees at the KISS themed theme park (voiced by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes) find themselves terrorised by a witch. Not wanting to have to close the lucrative park for very long, the manager calls in “the hottest mystery solvers in town”. Funnily enough, he’s actually referring to KISS (who, in addition to being rock stars, are also detectives and superheroes in their spare time), not Scooby’s gang. Rather than being the ‘go to’ mystery solvers, the Scooby Doo crew turn up for the chance to meet KISS, whom they all idolise. All of them except for Fred, that is, who’s more of an Ascot 5 kind of guy (i.e. a bit of a drip).
Indeed, much of the comedy found in Rock and Roll Mystery is derived from the fact that Daphne has the hots for KISS’ front man, Starchild (Paul Staneley), much to Fred’s chagrin. Now, for anyone who thinks Starchild is a bit too old looking for Daphne to find attractive, you must remember that she was a teenager in 1969, so they’re actually roughly the same age. Plus, due to animation techniques, he appears to have discovered whatever secret to eternal youth Scooby’s gang have been using (seriously, that is one exceptionally old dog – it must be all the pot they smoke!). Poor Fred, after about five decades of this nonsense, you’d think he’d realise that he’s being prick teased by now.
As you would expect from a film which teams up the most flamboyant rock ‘n’ roll band ever to have existed (and that’s saying something!) with a pack of ghost hunting stoners, Rock and Roll Mystery is a pretty mental affair altogether. Unlike most Scooby Doo adventures which go out of their way to expose all elements of the supernatural as being fraudulent, this one pretty much throws the materialistic book out the window and has all manner of sorcery, superhero heroics and other such madness pretty much from the get go. Toward the end, they do try to explain it all away, but it feels like an afterthought. For the most part though, the film embraces the wackiness and is all the better for it.
In addition to having the motley crew of mystery solvers chasing a witch and going on an inter-dimensional adventure where they fight an uber-villain akin to Galactus crossed with MODOK (yep, it’s fairly random like that), there’s plenty of knowing humour spread throughout, so even people who have no idea as to what the hell is going on will get plenty of chuckles. Most humorously of all, is KISS’ marketing manager, who pops up sporadically to try and hawk inexplicably overpriced KISS-branded merchandise (including, but not limited to, a toilet which would go well with yourHello Kitty/KISS branded toilet paper) while berating the band for using too many expensive special effects.
Of course, a film about KISS wouldn’t be complete without a killer glam metal soundtrack, and Rock and Roll Mysterydoes not disappoint in this regard. During those musical montage chase scenes that Scooby Doo is famous for, KISS get to belt out classic tunes including “I Was Made For Loving You”, “Rock and Roll All Nite” and even “Love Gun” – some of which, when you really listen to the lyrics, aren’t all that child-friendly due to copious amounts of innuendo. Fortunately, it should go over their heads (wah waw… –Ed).
Overall, Scooby Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery is lots of fun and should keep kids and rock and roll fanatics alike happy for its 72 minute running time. Now, if only KISS would just give us all what we all really want and go save Santa!